As Susannah was informed by an express from Mrs. Bridget, of my uncle Toby’s falling in love with her mistress fifteen days before it happened,⁠—the contents of which express, Susannah communicated to my mother the next day,⁠—it has just given me an opportunity of entering upon my uncle Toby’s amours a fortnight before their existence.

I have an article of news to tell you, Mr. Shandy, quoth my mother, which will surprise you greatly.⁠⸺⁠

Now my father was then holding one of his second beds of justice, and was musing within himself about the hardships of matrimony, as my mother broke silence.⁠⸻

“⁠⸺⁠My brother Toby, quoth she, is going to be married to Mrs. Wadman.”

⸺⁠Then he will never, quoth my father, be able to lie diagonally in his bed again as long as he lives.

It was a consuming vexation to my father, that my mother never asked the meaning of a thing she did not understand.

⸺⁠That she is not a woman of science, my father would say⁠—is her misfortune⁠—but she might ask a question.⁠—

My mother never did.⁠⸺⁠In short, she went out of the world at last without knowing whether it turned round, or stood still.⁠⸺⁠My father had officiously told her above a thousand times which way it was,⁠—but she always forgot.

For these reasons, a discourse seldom went on much further betwixt them, than a proposition,⁠—a reply, and a rejoinder; at the end of which, it generally took breath for a few minutes (as in the affair of the breeches), and then went on again.

If he marries, ’twill be the worse for us,⁠—quoth my mother.

Not a cherrystone, said my father,⁠—he may as well batter away his means upon that, as anything else.

⸺⁠To be sure, said my mother: so here ended the proposition,⁠—the reply,⁠—and the rejoinder, I told you of.

It will be some amusement to him, too,⁠⸺⁠said my father.

A very great one, answered my mother, if he should have children.⁠⸺⁠

⸺⁠Lord have mercy upon me,⁠—said my father to himself⁠⸺⁠* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *